By Pat Stier, MLA
While 2016 has been a challenging year for many Albertans, it’s also been a time where we’ve seen the very best of one another.
Time and time again Albertans showed their resilience in the face of adversity.
This was most put to the test during the Fort McMurray wildfire. As families were forced to flee their city, it was Albertans across our great province who opened their homes, their hearts and their wallets to help out strangers in their time of greatest need. Many gave more than they ever thought they could.
That need continues as residents rebuild. Wildrose will continue to be on the side of those residents every step of the way.
There are of course those who have lost work this past year or seen their wages drop. Pressure on our food banks and shelters are as high as they’ve ever been.
Through the tough times, we have never forgotten to help out a neighbour, and I’ve been encouraged to see Albertans step up to help those most in need.
I don’t think most Albertans will look fondly upon many of the laws passed by the NDP in 2016. While Wildrose has had a series of accomplishments, there’s no doubt we have serious concerns about the impact of decisions being made from the NDP government on the lives of working families.
Whether it’s the introduction of a carbon tax that will make everything more expensive for Albertans, an accelerated phase out of coal that will devastate entire communities or the decision to sue Alberta-owned power companies on the back of taxpayers, it’s clear decisions being made by our government are hurting working families across the province.
We are seeing small businesses across the province being forced to close up shop, and we are seeing companies like Western Feedlots and Koch Oil Sands Operating specifically citing NDP policies as they remove money from our province. Albertans deserve better.
Wildrose has been working hard to present a common sense alternative to the NDP, with ideas that will put Alberta back on the right track.
In March, we released a Jobs Action Plan and 10 common sense recommendations to get our budget back on the path to balance. We’ve raised the alarm about the growing fentanyl and crime crisis facing our province.
In October, we released a landmark report on equalization and presented recommendations for Alberta to put forward to renegotiate the equalization and transfer formulas. Our report found between $20-$28 billion goes to Ottawa every year without ever coming back to Alberta through transfers or federal spending.
Because of our work, the NDP was found in contempt at the beginning of the fall sitting of the Legislature for their expensive carbon tax ads. We also forced an emergency debate for children in care.
Finally, we released a 5-step plan at the end of November showing how Wildrose would restore confidence in our energy sector and axe several of the risky legislation and regulations the NDP government is putting forward.
The common theme among most of the common sense ideas that Wildrose has introduced in 2016 is that they were all ignored by a risky and ideological NDP government. The longer they are in office, the more damage they are doing to our province.
Wildrose won’t give up though. We will continue to be on the side of hardworking Albertans and their families. We know just how important our job is, and we won’t stop defending everyday Albertans’ interests.
Pat Stier is the Wildrose Shadow Minister for Municipal Affairs and the MLA for Livingstone – Macleod